Best Places For Expats To Live in the US Today
|Best Places For Expats To Live in the US Today|
|Table of Content|
It’s no surprise that the number of Americans living overseas has risen over the years and is expected to continue. Intertwined national economies mean more opportunities for Americans to work abroad. So, where do American expats go?
The majority of U.S. citizens living abroad can be found in our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico. That being said, hundreds of thousands of Americans have successfully ventured to faraway countries such as the Philippines, Italy, and South Korea.
We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best places to live in America for foreigners that just need a frickin’ break.
Things to know before visiting or moving to the U.S
The US is one of the most picturesque and diverse countries in the world! With a vast collection of iconic attractions and many concrete jungles to explore, it’s no surprise the country is one of the top places to immigrate. If you’re thinking of visiting or even moving to the US, here’s a list of important things to know:
• When shopping, keep in mind that retail sales tax is not added until when you pay. The rate also differs from state to state, ranging from 2.9% in Colorado (the nation’s lowest) to 7.25% in California.
• Guns are important to Americans, their constitution states that they have the right to keep and bear arms. Don’t be alarmed when you walk into a store and see guns hanging on the walls.
• The legal drinking age is 21 and it’s advisable to always carry your ID.
• Welcome to the land of pounds, feet, and inches! Download this app to figure out the Imperial system.
• Americans drive on the right-hand side.
• The U.S bought Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million, and in 2019 there were rumors of a US proposal to buy Greenland.
• The bureau divides the US into four regions — Northeast, Midwest, South, and West — and nine subregions.
Which state is best for expats according to state taxes?
There are three general types of states when it comes to state taxes for expats: the easy ones, the sticky ones, and the somewhat neutral ones.
The easy states
Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming don’t have an individual income tax.
Tennessee and New Hampshire collect state taxes on interest and dividends but not on ordinary income. That makes them also fairly easy for expats.
The sticky states
Virginia and especially California are not the best states to call home when you are actually rarely home. California does not allow you to exclude foreign earned income from your state taxes. And California’s state tax rate is one of the highest in the US.
New Mexico and South Carolina round out the sticky states for nomad income tax. Not only do you have to pay state tax on your income. What makes these four states “sticky” is that they try hard to hold on to their residents and they make it very difficult to leave.
To avoid having to pay state income tax in those states you have to move away and prove to the state that you moved permanently to a different state. The burden of proof lies with you. So if you have any intention of moving back to your state, you may have a hard time proving otherwise. Read more below on how to deal with that.
The neutral states
The remaining states are neither easy nor sticky. Some will let go of you as a tax resident if you have gone for a certain period of time. You still may have to prove your new residency to leave the state taxes behind, but requirements are less stringent than for the sticky four.
Top 3 States For Expats To Live in the US Today
1. New Mexico
New Mexico is where the world’s first atomic bomb was built and ushered us into the nuclear age. This state is not only one of the largest wine-growing regions but also home to White Sands National Monument – the world’s largest gypsum dune field. With the quality of life and affordability, New Mexico is home to some of the best cities to live in the United States.
Washington ranks in the top five as one of America’s most environmentally-friendly states. They are one of the nation’s largest agricultural producers, especially for apples and cherries, as well as a leader in seafood production. With a booming job market fueled by the tech industry in the Seattle area (Home of Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and Starbucks)! WA is home to some of the coolest cities to live in the US.
Known as the home of country music, Tennessee is also a water-lovers paradise with a combination of over 1,300 rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The state holds one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates and is home to nine of the world’s largest companies, including FedEx, Dollar General, and Eastman Chemical. Tennessee has more than 75 colleges and universities, making it home to some of the best cities to live in the USA for families with children.
Best Cities For Expats To Live in the US
1. Austin, Texas
Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin was ranked the top choice for the best places to live in the United States by Business Insider. The city has a strong emphasis on arts, culture, outdoor spaces, and venture capital investments. Austin residents also benefit from no personal or corporate income tax, and a low state and local tax rate. For newcomers, this combination means lots of affordable public events such as festivals, concerts, pop-up galleries, as well as a wide variety of classes for children.
2. Denver, Colorado
Denver is an endlessly entertaining, invigorating, and simultaneously laid back city. The coasts tend to get all the attention, but lately, between Colorado’s booming economy and the Front Range’s booming population growth, it feels like people are starting to notice how great this part of the country is.
Denver is one of several major cities on Colorado’s Front Range, the stretch of land east of the Rockies. Denver is the biggest city on the Front Range; it has Colorado’s only major airport, sports teams, and the metropolitan downtown area. That said, you’re never far from the outdoorsy paradise Colorado is known for. Whether you prefer mountain climbing, National Park hiking, or world-class skiing, it’s all just a quick car ride away. Indeed, those iconic mountains are never out of sight of the mile-high city.
3. Sarasota, Florida
One of the most popular places for Brits to live in the US is Florida. It is conveniently on the east coast, closer to the UK, and has year-round sunshine with balmy temperatures even in winter. Add in the surprisingly affordable housing and you have the perfect recipe for a laid-back, sunny lifestyle.
But rather than heading for Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, why not head for Sarasota? This small city, population no more than 60,000, is still close to major hubs such as St Petersburg and Tampa, which greatly increases job opportunities, but maintains its small-town charm.
4. Santa Barbara, California
With an average commute to work at less than 20 minutes, residents of Santa Barbara have the shortest commute of any major American city. The city also ranks exceptionally well for overall personal well being, low levels of crime, and healthcare, an excellent combination to make new residents feel at home. The city is also well known for its beautiful architecture, including Mediterranean-style stucco buildings with red tile roofs, reflecting the city’s Spanish colonial heritage. However, the rental market is tough – there is a lower-than-average vacancy rate here.
5. Portland, Maine
Quaint, beautiful, with a population of just 67,000 and more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the US, you would do well to visit Portland as a possible place to live. Located in New England, it is of course surrounded by stunning natural landscapes which turn golden-red in autumn, attracting leaf-peepers from around the world.
It is also attracting its fair share of creative industries, from advertising to marketing and digital agencies, bringing an added vibrancy to an employment market that was once mainly based around the port.
6. Fayetteville, Arkansas
Fayetteville is home to seven Fortune 500 companies, as well as the University of Arkansas’ main campus, and thus has a strong economy and job sector. Average home prices sit well under $200,000. As well, Fayetteville has a strong all-around ranking for healthcare, crime levels, and daily commutes. The city is well known for volunteer organizations and nonprofits, perfect for newcomers looking to make new friends and connections.
7. Scottsdale, Arizona
Just 10 miles outside busy Phoenix lies another city, a quieter, more relaxed hub called Scottsdale. It has long been a popular travel spot but it is actually a thriving city in itself as well. With its proximity to Phoenix it is often a great destination for city slickers to enjoy a night out thanks to its great restaurant and bar scene. But by day older residents and young families play golf, go shopping in the stylish Fashion Square, visit art galleries (there are more than 70) and enjoy the parks and walking and cycling trails that make this city on of the most desirable places to live in the state.
8. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
With the average home price coming in at under $200,000, life in Lancaster is affordable. It is also healthy. The city ranks first in terms of access to quality healthcare and also enjoys low levels of crime and lower than average workplace commutes. While it might be less well known than many larger cities, Lancaster has a lot to offer newcomers. It has a mix of farms and suburbs, a variety of churches, and local’s favorite, the Mars Chocolate factory.
9. Green Bay, Wisconsin
Home to one of the most storied football franchises in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers, Green Bay has the perfect mix of big-city amenities complemented with a Midwestern, small-town feel. This city boasts a thriving entertainment and arts scene, a revitalized downtown, and two college campuses, creating energy that may appeal to young families as well as retirees.
Green Bay is located in the heart of northeast Wisconsin and is the state's oldest settlement. The city’s heart is at the mouth of the Fox River, and its access to the Great Lakes allowed early settlers to use the area’s waterways to become successful entrepreneurs.
10. Huntsville, Alabama
As the fastest-growing city in Alabama, Huntsville is famous worldwide as being a hub for NASA. However, there is a lot more happening here than just astronauts and space training. Craft breweries are huge in Huntsville. Artists’ shops and studios, and new houses, apartments, and shops are constantly springing up. Newcomers will appreciate Huntsville’s low cost of living, higher than normal average annual salaries (an estimated $53,600) and small size (less than half a million people).
Which Country Is The Best For Americans to Live Abroad?
InterNations recently revealed its Expat Insider 2022, which ranks countries by analyzing factors such as work life, the quality of living, and the local cost of living. The best destination to live as an expat in 2022? Mexico is the winner, with 91% of expats saying they are happy with their life South of the Border.
Mexico ranks first for the ease of settling in and second for personal finances. But there are some drawbacks. “Safety is probably the biggest issue,” says InterNations founder Malte Zeeck. Among expat women, Mexico ranks 33rd out of 36 destinations for personal safety, while it comes 40th out of 43 places for the male respondents.
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